Playing with Fire

Photographing Models

By Michael J. Legeros


This month, how to photograph your Code 3 Collectibles using a digital point-and-shoot camera so they look like the real thing:


Step 1

Buy, borrow, or steal a digital camera, preferably 3 megapixels or higher. Go lower and some metal textures may appear grainy.



Step 2

Obtain a couple pieces of poster board, preferably white or light-colored.  Place the model on the poster board.



Step 3

Use normal room lighting, during the daytime.  Try everything both with and without flash.


Step 4

If available, mount the camera on a tripod to reduce the possibility of "camera shake."



Step 5

Position the model within an inch or two of the camera.



Step 6

Use the camera's viewfinder or LCD panel to see how the model looks.


Step 7

Adjust both the camera and the model accordingly.  Notice how the slightest change in camera or model position makes a difference.



Step 8

Take a picture. Is the model in focus?  If not, activate the camera's Macro mode.

Note: You may need to view the photograph on the computer, to check the focus.

Note: Even if your camera has a Macro mode, it may not be capable of focusing on something so close to the lens.


Macro OFF

Macro ON


Step 9

Try shooting from slightly above or below the model.



Step 10

Try photographing the model from the rear. And with both with or without any special features exposed.  The model may look better with ladders extended, doors opened, etc.



Step 11

View the photographs on your computer using your favorite image editing software:



Step 12

Auto-level the image, which will adjust the colors, contrast, brightness, etc. to best effect.



Step 13

Shrink the image size if necessary, if planning to post to the Web.  The longest side of the picture should be 500 or 600 pixels wide.



Step 14

Save the image in JPEG format with appropriate compression, 0% if printing as prints, 20% if posting on Web pages.


How do you this with a film camera?  Or a digital SLR camera? The author cannot advise, as his film camera doesn't have a Macro mode. Nor does he have a digital SLR camera.

A version of this column originally appeared at Code 3 Collectibles.


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Copyright 2017 by Michael J. Legeros